Let’s get something straight: sometimes in this ugly, broken world, our hearts are punctured by brutality and injustice inflicted upon us- either intentional or not. As often as not, we are punctured by the church. Though this is not the way it should be- not the way it was designed to be– it is the way it is.
In those moments of acute and stinging pain, it can feel like arrows aimed at our souls, at the soft and carefully hidden pin-points of our insecurities, and the wounds carved out by these arrows go immeasurably deep, are unspeakably painful. It can leave us breathless, pincushioned by shafts of carefully aimed lies, protruding from our chests.
I know this, sweet friend.
And sometimes, it’s the same arrow. Sometimes, it’s the same lie. Sometimes, it’s the same spot, scarred over from dozens of attacks, that gets split open once again.
See, sometimes we think we’re safe- that after this vast array of identical scars in the same exact spot, we can’t possibly withstand another. But then it comes. And what then?
I’ve been there, too. The enemy has one lie that he’s constantly shooting, wailing through the air, at my heart.one lie that he’s used God’s church to attempt to hammer into me my whole life:
While God’s love is perfect, the church doesn’t want you. They don’t love you. You don’t belong among them. You have too many scars. Too much brokenness. A story they’ll never understand, and a battle they’ll never accept.
You see, my past & my experiences with church, even as a pastor’s daughter, have taught me this lie for years. While I have had healing and grace-filled experiences among the Body, people in church have also abandoned me in my need, attacked my character, judged my struggles, and belittled by pain.
Because the enemy knows this: if he can divide, he can conquer. So he enters our churches, and there he sows division, plants judgement, whispers self-sufficiency. He lies to us, friends, and he lies to our churches. He lies through loneliness and depression and envy and anger. He lies through the illusion of personal strength and through mental illness. He lies through the church, sometimes, too, because he knows that in unity is strength.
Here’s the thing, sweet friends: that same lie will come flying at you countless times. It will pierce your heart like the first time, and you’ll feel like a casualty of spiritual warfare.
But through Him we have truth. And truth let’s us reach down, wrap our hands around the arrow’s shaft and pull it from our hearts. It lets us open up our heart to the possibility of greater healing and deeper freedom. To the hope of grace & the promise that we have already overcome.
Truth hands us a bow and gives us the strength to send that arrow that once wounded us, into the sky as a beacon of freedom & healing for the battle-scarred scattered around the same war grounds as us. That arrow flies and says “I claim healing! I wear my scars as a badge of victory, and I claim His truth as my saving grace.”
Because, dear ones, I was assaulted by that arrow again tonight. And I’ll be honest, I’m still working it out of my chest. I’m fighting fears that my past says are valid, and warring against the enemy to trust that my God has goodness in store for me. I’m fighting to believe that there is unity in the Bride. That my husband’s calling as a worship pastor can mean belonging for me instead of loneliness. That where God will place us will be a position of blessing and a space where believers embrace the messiness that is one another.
Because I know that is truth.
Oh beautiful soul… We’ve been wounded, yes.
But string those arrows on your bow. point it far up above you.
and let the arrows fly.